Lamar Jackson an intriguing option as Drew Brees' successor

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Why is Jackson's stock on the rise? (1:08)

Todd McShay breaks down why Lamar Jackson could be a good fit for the New Orleans Saints. (1:08)

The New Orleans Saints' 2018 draft class could lack sizzle, given that the team doesn't pick until No. 27 in Round 1 and then not again until No. 91 in Round 3.

But ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay offered an intriguing possibility that would change that in his latest mock draft: former Heisman trophy-winning quarterback Lamar Jackson.

The Saints are obviously on the lookout for Drew Brees' eventual successor, considering that the future Hall of Famer is 39 years old. Last year, they almost drafted Patrick Mahomes II with the 11th pick.

It will be much harder for the Saints to land a quarterback they like this year, seeing as the top four prospects should all be long gone by the time they pick at 27. But Jackson could potentially fall to the late first round (or into Day 2) if teams think he needs time to develop.

As McShay and other draft analysts who have mocked Jackson to New Orleans have pointed out, the Saints are the type of team that can offer that development behind Brees and under one of the game's most creative offensive coaches in Sean Payton.

Now, the obvious downside to the Saints drafting any quarterback with the 27th pick is that they have only one choice in the top 90 this year, so they might not wind up with any instant-impact players in this year's draft class after an 11-5 season that has them back in Super Bowl contention.

The upside would be huge, though, if they can land their next starting QB at such a bargain price. Plus, the Saints have enough wiggle room under the salary cap this year to fill their most glaring needs in free agency.

The biggest questions, obviously, are whether the Saints have Jackson graded as a bona fide Round 1 quarterback and whether Payton sees him as a guy he can build (and expand) his offense around. If they do, then they should probably run to the podium to make this pick.

That's a big "if," though, given that personnel evaluators seem to be divided on Jackson's potential. ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter said that at least one team has Jackson rated as the No. 2 quarterback in this year's class. But on the flip side, some teams reportedly wanted to see the 6-foot-2, 216-pounder work out at wide receiver during the NFL scouting combine.

No one can argue against the fact that Jackson has rare talent, though. The 2016 Heisman winner threw for 7,203 yards with 57 passing TDs and ran for 3,172 yards with 39 rushing TDs over the past two seasons at Louisville. His arm strength is as dynamic as his speed, though his completion percentage was below 60 in each of the past two years.

I disagree with the notion that the Saints prefer "pocket QBs" just because they've had one in Brees for the past 12 years. They obviously loved Mahomes, who is a different style of quarterback. They also thought very highly of Deshaun Watson and Marcus Mariota, among others, in recent years.

Whether they feel the same way about Jackson remains to be seen.